Obituary: JoAnn Reynolds Munro

HANCOCK, N.H. — The Reverend Canon JoAnn Reynolds Munro, of Hancock, N.H., died surrounded by family and friends on May 8, 2016 at Monadnock Community Hospital. Ms. Munro was born in Walla Walla, Wash., on Oct. 20, 1934, the daughter of Harry J Reynolds Jr. and Sarah (Delaney) Reynolds Fisher.

JoAnn’s great grandmother as a young girl traveled on the second wagon train to follow the Oregon Trail (1842) and settled in the Whitman community where she married and proved up the family Donation claim, which later became Log Cabin Farm a prosperous dairy, vegetable and fruit operation in Walla Walla. Much of JoAnn’s early years were spent on the family ranch. The grit, spirit and resolution of her pioneer ancestry was a part of JoAnn’s approach to the gift of life.

She graduated from the University of Idaho (member of KKG) and was selected to serve an internship at Mass General Hospital in her field of nutrition. She worked in that field later receiving a graduate degree for New York University. Married to Norman Munro of New Haven, Conn., they settled in Wilton, Conn., were they raised their children. In time, JoAnn became an avid seeker in the Christian faith. As a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien she became very active in the various church programs.

Feeling moved to seek ordination in that denomination, JoAnn attended Yale Divinity School graduating with honors in 1985. From that year through to 1993 JoAnn served St Paul’s Church in Fairfield, Conn., as seminar intern, assistant rector and later interim rector. In those capacities she exhibited outstanding skills in directing and enhancing church programs and with creativity handled challenges and made the most of opportunities. Her congregation there fondly recalls her spirit, hard work and her joy in her ministry.

In 1993, JoAnn was selected rector of St Michael’s Church in Naugatuck, Conn., and served until 1999. Again she met the many challenges of that parish. Working with her wardens, vestry and the congregants much improvement was made in the church programming and there was a substantially growth of membership. Among the many initiatives of her ministry was the establishment of the Naugatuck Teen Theater (now in its 22nd year) housed in the church parish hall. JoAnn secured the funding and pulled together stage professionals to cast their first show “Fiddler on the Roof.” Later she made her stage debut cast as Miss Jones in “How to Succeed in Business.”

It was JoAnn’s firm belief that “God is good all the time-all the time God is good.” That is recalled to this day by St. Michael’s members that she served faithfully. JoAnn, always the student, was dedicated to the study and writing about various Christian mystics and theologians. She was always ready and willing to explore with others their path to a greater understanding of our faith.

She was then called by Bishop Drew Smith to join the staff of the Episcopal Dioceses of Connecticut, serving as the canon for deployment from 1999 to her retirement in 2006. In that capacity she wrote her first book, “A Manuel for Church in Transition.” This is the process of searching and calling a new rector. Her material is still used to this day.

Moving with her husband to Peterborough, N.H., they became active members of All Saints’ Church. JoAnn continued her ministry of service to the church responding to various requests of the rector to assist in a variety of projects.

JoAnn R. Munro is survived by her loving husband of 20 years David L. Simpson, Jr. of Hancock; her daughter, Sara Munro of Santa Barbara, Calif.; her son, Dr. Scott Munro and his wife Jackie, and her grandchildren, Killian Munro and Sam Munro of Wilton, N.Y.; her sister, Judy Planting of Tucson, Ariz., David L. Simpson III of James Island, S.C., and her faithful dog, Cade.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Rev. Munro’s name to All Saints’ Church, 51 Concord St., Peterborough, NH 03458 or online at

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 11 at 1 pm at All Saints’ Church, 51 Concord St., Peterborough, N.H. Jellison Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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